Twelve people were killed by disqualified drivers in the past three years, an Oireachtas committee has head.

The figures emerged at the Oireachtas Transport Committee, where TDs and Senators have been questioning gardaí and the Road Safety Authority about the thousands of disqualified drivers who have failed to surrender their licences.

More than 8,000 disqualified drivers failed to surrender their licences last year, despite being obliged to do so by law.

Earlier this month, RTÉ News revealed that just two out of almost 8,000 disqualified drivers were convicted of failing to surrender their licences.

One of those drivers was fined €500, while the other person was not fined at all.

The RSA has supported calls by the victim's group PARC for all gardaí to be given handheld mobile devices to check if a driver has been disqualified. 

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, told the committee she believes "the visible presence of gardaí with smartphone lookup capability on our roads is the measure which will do the most to reduce death and injury on our roads"

She said it would also be the best use of limited resources.

Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan told the Committee that gardaí in Limerick have been taking part in a pilot project using a smartphone app to look up the record of drivers on a garda database.

However the system is only available to a limited number of gardaí and is not in use across the country.

Ms Murdock told the committee that just because a person does not surrender their licence; it does not mean they are not going to drive.

She said detecting drivers on the roadside was a key measure needed to reduce the number of disqualified drivers on the roads.

Ms Murdock said it was important to resource gardaí to help improve road safety. However she said her priority was on tackling killer driver behavior, including drink-driving.

She also criticised the small number of rural TDs who have been engaged in filibustering in the Dáil to delay the passage of a road traffic bill which introduces stricter penalties for drink drivers.

Ms Murdock said it was "completely unacceptable, unprecedented, totally undemocratic and self-serving" of TDs who are attempting to delay the passage of the bill.

Fianna Fáil TD Kevin O Keefe said he took offence to claims that TDs are jeopardising road safety in the Dáil.

"Ms Murdock would want to come out of her comfort zone and come down to rural Ireland," he said.

However the Chairman of the committee, Fergus O'Dowd, said the Oireachtas was being "abused" by the TDs concerned.